The Bellicose politics of peace




McBeth, Renée Erica

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Despite its presentation as a pragmatic and universally applicable path to peace, the author argues that liberal peacebuilding offers no clear break from past colonial and imperial relations. Liberal peacebuilding is, in fact, colonial in its attempt to penetrate the markets and political systems of post-conflict countries and restructure economies and political life through the hegemonic imposition of liberal norms, facilitating their integration into global capitalism and a liberal community of states. The “liberal peace” created by this political and economic order often involves violent conditions of assimilation and exclusion. Moreover, the confluence of security and development concerns in the 1990s has set the strategic foundation for the incorporation of locally-driven “civil society” approaches to peacebuilding within statebuilding operations. In this thesis, the author identifies existing criticisms of peacebuilding, and, drawing on theorists such as Michel Foucault, Partha Chatterjee, David Scott, and Jenny Edkins, initiates a deeper critique that considers the historical context of colonialism, legitimations of violence, the construction of the non-west in categories of development, and the relations of power and knowledge associated with liberal approaches to making peace. The author provides a historical and political overview of wars in Angola, proposing that discourses and practices of international peacebuilding have concealed the continuation of war by other means.



Peacebuilding, Liberal international order, liberal war, liberal peace, Foucault, colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism, peace studies, civil society, statebuilding, development, progress, liberal modernity